Headaches and Educational Inequities

I have been experiencing more headaches in the past couple of days and couldn’t discern the reason for these headaches. It wasn’t my time of the month nor was I dehydrated. I was popping two Extra Strength Tylenols every six hours, then I became worried that I was taking too many painkillers. What was causing these headaches? I thought with dread, brain tumor? I needed to nap. After my nap, I was stressed that I did not complete grading my students’ quizzes nor did I work on my research proposal nor did I wash a load clothes. I just slept, and afterwards, I still had my headache. I groggily got up of bed, stumbling to the bathroom.

Today I had an especially good day, a headache-free day. I completed a lot of items on my To-Do List and did not have to take any medication. I went outside to shovel the slushy snow provided with me with much-needed fresh air. After some manual labor, I felt energized, ready to check off more items on my laundry list.

When I am overwhelmed, I get stressed and when I get stressed, I get anxiety, which triggers headaches; and I have been experiencing anxiety since March 2021. However, the headaches are now less frequent since my family have all been vaccinated and have adjusted to pandemic life. We will continue wearing masks and social distancing. So, life continues; so, the research proposal continues.

I revisited my Central Inquiry and revised my slideshow for my upcoming March 9 presentation. I wanted to recenter myself so I do not lose some sight of my purpose and felt that I was going down this proverbial research rabbit hole.

Central Inquiry: Critics argue that students mechanically accept suggestions from online grammar checkers without understanding the grammatical underpinnings. Although some students may mindlessly accept editing suggestions, online grammar checkers, similar to calculators, are actually tools of empowerment that help provide equity in the classroom and support learners who lack cultural and linguistic capital.  (Working Thesis)

In terms of research, I checked to see if there was any no research published on online grammar checkers. No, there was not. Then I wanted research to help me answer, Why should we care about educational equity? Enters Paul Gorski who reminds me that “We have the power, and of course, the responsibility to ensure we do not reproduce inequitable conditions in our own classrooms and in our schools.” I am going to continue reading Gorski’s book Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity and working on my autoethnographic short story.

Literature Review (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1H12r6MF597jtkdQ_FOOUavKGK439btzMUocm-hplKN8/edit?usp=sharing

Writing Pedagogy and Writing Theory

Bardine, Bryan A., et al. “Beyond the Red Pen: Clarifying Our Role in the Response Process.”   

     The English Journal, vol. 90, no. 1, 2000, pp. 94–101. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/821738.

     Accessed 19 Dec. 2020.

– Bardine and Deegan argue that students feel powerless in the writing classroom, which

   supports my claim that writing instruction can be oppressive. They argue that teachers

   need to go beyond grading papers. Teachers need to see themselves as responders to 

   essays, focusing on the students’ ideas and not on the goal of grading a paper and

   moving on to the next paper. The instructor’s comments have a lasting impact, 

   either positive or negative, on the learner. 

David Foster Wallace – Tense Present: Democracy, English, and the Wars Over Usage | Genius. https://genius.com/David-foster-wallace-tense-present-democracy-english-and-the-wars-over-usage-annotated. Accessed 19 Dec. 2020.

-Wallace examines the power dynamics in American usage. He argues that the elite, the

              SNOOTS (or grammar snobs), are the authority in terms of usage. They determine right

    and wrong in American usage, which is problematic in writing studies since the writing 

  authorities are generally white and male. In the writing classroom, the authority is white 

 and female.

Semke, Harriet D. “Effects of the Red Pen.” Foreign Language Annals, vol. 17, no. 3, 1984, pp. 195–202, doi:10.1111/j.1944-9720.1984.tb01727.x.

– Semke shows that students’ writing skills improve with a combination of positive

  comments corrections on their papers. 

Delpit, Lisa D. The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People’s Children. 1988, doi:10.17763/haer.58.3.c43481778r528qw4.

– Delpit examines the culture of power in the classroom and in writing pedagogy. She 

   argues for a student-centered classroom and writing as a process. She presents a

   divergent perspective of white writing teachers teaching other people’s children and

  how faculty of color are often marginalized in their professions, which is quite

 problematic since divergent points of view are dismissed, rejected, and suppressed.

Ferenz, Orna. “EFL Writers’ Social Networks: Impact on Advanced Academic Literacy Development.” Journal of English for Academic Purposes, vol. 4, no. 4, Oct. 2005, pp. 339–51, doi:10.1016/j.jeap.2005.07.002.

-Using human ecology theory, Fernez examines how ESL students’ social

 environment (a network of friends, classmates, and co-workers) impact the students’

 acquisition of advanced literacy skills. However, if marginalized students lack the

linguistic capital at home and do not have access to writing tools at school, then they

are to hone their advanced literacy skills.

Pitard, Jayne. “Using Vignettes Within Autoethnography to Explore Layers of Cross-Cultural Awareness as a Teacher.” Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, vol. 17, no. 1, Nov. 2015, doi:10.17169/fqs-17.1.2393.

– Pitard uses vignettes (or anecdotes) to serve as a “window” into a different culture. She distinguishes autoethnographies from short stories by connecting the self to the larger cultural text, and the self to the larger social context. Since I am interested in the larger context of writing pedagogy, I am planning to write an autoethnographic short story.  

Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed: 50th Anniversary Edition. Bloomsbury Publishing

USA, 2018.

-Freire Argues for liberation of the oppressed by breaking the chains of a

conventional education that focuses on memorization. Instead, education should focus

on problem-solving and critical thinking skills. He encourages dialogue between 

the teacher and the student.

The Problem of Othering: Towards Inclusiveness and Belonging. (2017, June 29). Othering and 

Belonging. http://www.otheringandbelonging.org/the-problem-of-othering/

– Powell and Menendian posit that the problem of the 20th century is

“othering, ” which is a type of prejudice where one group perceives another group as

 being different from them, thus marginalizing them. Othering occurs because of the 

 desire for power and unconscious bias.

Online Grammar Checkers

Best Grammar Checker Tools: These 6 Will Make Your Writing Super Clean. (2020, January 

20). The Write Life. https://thewritelife.com/automatic-editing-tools/.

– Provides recommendations of online grammar checkers such as ProWritingAid

AutoCrit, and Grammarly. 

– Provides an example of an autoethnography of an English teacher who was able to gain

   credibility as an English teacher in Sri Lanka. By using an authentic voice, this 

   Autoethnography is a strong example of this research method. 

Cavaleri, M. R., & Dianati, S. (2016). You want me to check your grammar again? The 

usefulness of an online grammar checker as perceived by students. Journal of Academic 

Language and Learning, 10(1), A223–A236.

– Dianati presents research on the positive impact of online grammar checkers on students 

   in Australia. Based on their study, online grammar checkers promote self-efficacy 

   and independence.

Figueredo, L., & Varnhagen, C. K. (2006). Spelling and grammar checkers: Are they intrusive? 

British Journal of Educational Technology, 37(5), 721–732.


– Varnhagen concludes that online grammar checkers do not negatively impact a writer’s

   revision process. More experienced writers, such as graduate students, use online

   grammar checkers to check for surface revisions.

Jayavalan, K., & Razali, A. B. (2018). Effectiveness of Online Grammar Checker to Improve 

Secondary Students’ English Narrative Essay Writing. International Research Journal of

Education and Sciences (IRJES), 2(1).

-Jayavalan and Razali show how Maylasian students who used Grammarly scored higher in the narrative writing tasks by using Grammarly.


GRAMMAR INSTRUCTION WITH WRITING. Journal of Basic Writing, 19(2), 

124–140. JSTOR.

-McAlexander describes online grammar checkers as “pattern detectors” that can detect

  formulaic patterns of errors but not error relating to content and meaning such as comma

  rules, dangling and misplaced modifiers, and pronoun agreement errors.

McCracken, H., & McCracken, H. (2019, April 1). On its 10th anniversary, Grammarly looks 

way beyond grammar. Fast Company.


  • McCracken provides background on the founders of Grammarly, Max Lytvyn and Alex Shevchenko, who want people to write well. The writer Harry McKraken who writes for a living uses Grammarly to help him find errors. 

Moré, J. (2006). A grammar checker based on web searching. Digithum, 8, 1–5.

Naber, D. (2003). A rule-based style and grammar checker. Citeseer.

On Students’ Rights to Their Own Texts: A Model of Teacher Response on JSTOR. (n.d.). 

Retrieved May 11, 2020, from 

-Moré claims that teachers should treat students’ writing with respect. The teacher should

 return control of writing to the students by adopting the mindset of helping the student

 improve as a writing and not comparing the students’ writing to an Ideal text.

Potter, R., & Fuller, D. (2008). My New Teaching Partner? Using the Grammar Checker in 

Writing Instruction. The English Journal, 98(1), 36–41. JSTOR.

-A seventh-grade teacher, Reva Potter, describes her positive experience of teaching 

online grammar checker. She concludes by saying that she can teach technology 

and writing simultaneously. 


A Phenomenological Research Design Illustrated-Thomas Groenewald, 2004. (n.d.). Retrieved 

May 10, 2020, from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/160940690400300104

-Groenewald provides a step-by-step guide in conducting a phenomenological research

 Design. Autoethnography is a form of phenomenology but without the bracketing.

Canagarajah, A. S. (2012). Teacher Development in a Global Profession: An Autoethnography. 

TESOL Quarterly, 46(2), 258–279. https://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.18.

Bouchner, Arthur P. and Carolyn S. Ellis. “Communication as Autoethnography.” Communication as…:Perspectives on Theory, pp. 110-122.

Educational Equity

White Teachers / Diverse Classrooms, edited by Julie Landsman, and Chance W. Lewis, 

Stylus Publishing, LLC, 2011. ProQuest Ebook Central,


I was introduced to Paul Gorski’s “Becoming Joe,” which was a poetic loom at the process of assimilation of Jose. As I read the poem, I am reminded of my name and how strangers struggle with my name Tunhi, which prompted me to informally change it to “Linda.”

hooks, bell. Teaching To Transgress. United States, Taylor & Francis, 2014.

Noddings, Nel. Happiness and Education. Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Gorski, Paul C.. Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap. United States, Teachers College Press, 2017.

“Class Inequities Beyond School Walls and Why They Matter at School”

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